By Ashley Davis
Frances Wadsworth Jones (left) and Dalia Daou of Daou Jewellery (right) were chosen to join Rock Vault, the British organization of jewelry designers.
Frances Wadsworth Jones (left) and Dalia Daou of Daou Jewellery (right) were chosen to join Rock Vault, the British organization of jewelry designers.

London--Daou Jewellery and Frances Wadsworth Jones are the newest members of the British Fashion Council’s Rock Vault, the group curated by Stephen Webster that aims to support and give a platform to up-and-coming independent jewelry designers.

The new designers join existing Rock Vault members Completedworks, Lily Kamper, Rachel Boston and Shimell and Madden.

Brands Ana de Costa, Beth Gilmour, Jacqueline Cullen, Ornella Iannuzzi, Ruifier and Yunus and Eliza all are graduating from the program this September, joining the talented ranks of Rock Vault alumni such as Fernando Jorge, Imogen Belfield and Tomasz Donocik.

“The most recent additions to the Rock Vault designers, Frances Wadsworth Jones and Daou, are both creative, exciting and original,” Stephen Webster said. “They are also both at the stage in their businesses when mentoring and the extra exposure gained through the RV initiative will provide them with the tools and experience so essential to succeed in a market that is more crowded and competitive today than ever before. Rock Vault, now in its tenth season, has proven to be the only such platform in the industry.”

The two brands were chosen by a panel of experts, including Webster, members of the British Fashion Council and several jewelry editors.

Dalia Daou, this year’s New Designer of the Year winner at the U.K. Jewellery Awards, is the designer of Daou Jewellery, a fine jewelry brand started by her grandfather and carried on by her father, which she has re-launched in recent years.

Daou hopes that Rock Vault will introduce her brand to the American fine jewelry market; Rock Vault designers accompany Stephen Webster to exhibit annually at the Couture show.

“I hope to gain from the mentorship, profile and support Rock Vault provides to make the most of the unique story of Daou Jewellery and further develop the brand both creatively, with respect to our heritage, and commercially, especially internationally, specifically in the USA,” she said.

Dalia’s designs focus on bright gemstone color combinations and bold, asymmetric, graphic shapes that exhibit an un-fussy youthful exuberance.

Fellow newcomer Frances Wadsworth Jones, a 2008 Royal College of Art graduate, also possesses a fresh, youthful quality to her work, but with a distinctly British quirkiness and sense of humor.

For example, a classic sapphire center stone with diamond halo ring is subverted by a parade of gold ants propping up the stones’ setting.

“Each piece combines preciousness, narrative and detail in an attempt to find some unexpected comic relief in the serious world of fine jewelry,” she explained. “Needless to say, having the support of the British Fashion Council at this time in my career really is invaluable."

Webster stressed that the benefits of the Rock Vault community exceed the time designers are able to participate in the initiative.

He commented, “Long after designers have graduated, they still contact me for all kinds of advice. This can be as varied as international design contracts, opinions on retailers or IP concerns. Usually I or one of the other members of the RV panel are able to offer the advice needed. If not, we know where to go to get the answers.”

The six current Rock Vault members will showcase their designs during London Fashion Week in September in the Designer Showrooms at Brewer Street Car Park.

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